5 Benefits Of IoT Solutions For eCommerce
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eCommerce is about more than just putting up a website and making sales. It’s about accessibility, efficiency, and service. Even traditional brick and mortar businesses need a digital presence and advanced tech to remain competitive and vital in the age of information.
The Internet of things (IoT) is a huge presence in the 21 century. That will continue to be true as automation becomes an inevitable part of our everyday lives. Most of us are familiar with prominent IoT technologies like Alexa and chatbots. But, there’s more to this technology than convenience.
Let’s take a deeper dive into how IoT is changing the way we do business on every level.
What is the Internet of Things?
Simply put, IoT is an umbrella term for anything that is connected to an online network. It automates household and business functions like climate control, making such systems more efficient and accessible. This level of inter-connectivity is also essential for everything, from information sharing to data collection and management.
By the end of 2021, it’s expected that there will be more than 35 billion IoT devices connected and in operation around the world. How does this collection of web-based devices, networks, and systems benefit eCommerce?
Here are five of our favorite examples.
Upselling and Customer Care
Sales and service involve more than just lead generation. The average eCommerce company will gain more revenue by upselling to existing customers than by accumulating new leads. Using advanced connectivity to send out suggestions for related products or reminders that it’s time for a refill or renewal saves time and frustration, which marks you as a business that provides efficient, customer-centric services.
Customer service is improved in other ways through IoT networking. For example, insurance companies can gather data based on individual driving habits and send alerts for discounted rates to clients right to their device. Since so many of us use a combination of devices and work or shop on the go, devices can be detected and synced via IoT connectivity, ensuring that customers receive vital information in a timely manner regardless of their current location or device.
Business leaders rely on accurate, real-time data to make decisions every day. By incorporating IoT into business operations like inventory management, you’re providing a seamless mechanism that makes sure items listed on your website are in-stock at the POS. This reduces warehousing requirements. You’ll avoid the expense and embarrassment of over- or under-stocking merchandise by using built-in Big Data analysis during the product procurement or production process.
Tech like IoT sensors and RFID tagging will tell you when you’re running low on product or materials, automate ordering, and store information about lot numbers and expiration dates.
Service Traceability and Transparency
Inventory isn’t the only usage for IoT’s data management and analysis capabilities. There are 16 beneficial technologies aiding eCommerce Industry 4.0, all of which are contributing to great customer experience and, consequently, a business’s bottom line.
One example of how IoT helps consumers and business owners is through product traceability and transparency in the online pharmaceutical industry while contributing to customer satisfaction.
This type of business relies on providing customers with safe products that are delivered in a timely manner.
Through networked logistics and GPS-aided shipping capabilities, you’ll reduce the danger of customers receiving counterfeit products, account for shipping delays through real-time weather alerts at every point along the supply chain, and provide those waiting on medications or health aids with updated information about delivery times.
Production/Warehousing Environment Monitoring and Control
Your website promises customers that their merchandise will be in-stock and of the highest possible quality. IoT helps you make good on such promises by controlling the production and storage environment at your facility. An example of this is the eCommerce powerhouse Amazon, which uses IoT to monitor product packing and shipping.
Networked devices can also be used to monitor and repair equipment, control ambient temperatures and noise in production facilities, and provide real-time alerts if an issue arises that needs human intervention.
One of the biggest concerns for anyone who conducts business online is security. Through more streamlined, intuitive interfaces and connectivity, fraud can be detected and addressed in real-time through 24/7 monitoring and alerts sent to networked devices.
The amount and nature of customer data can also be reduced to include only relevant information. For your eCommerce IoT protocol to benefit customers rather than pose a greater security risk, it should be acquired and implemented thoughtfully.
Your IoT strategy should include:
- Selection of platforms that suit your needs, customer service requirements, and level of security
- Working with vendors and other business partners who prioritize security by design
- Configuring AI and IoT applications to improve data collection and storage
- Providing full transparency to website visitors and customers concerning your data collection, storage, and disposal policies
- Following recommended security practices like protecting endpoints, segmenting IoT networks, and encrypting data during transmission
- Keeping systems, networks, devices, and applications up-to-date
No matter your industry or product type, there’s a tech solution that will improve how you connect with customers and conduct business. Rather than seeing tech as a luxury, smart leaders recognize it as a smart investment in continued viability. Getting in on the ground floor of IoT now will make future digital transformation less expensive, and it will reduce any possible downtime incurred as a normal, inevitable part of modernization. Simply putting up a website is no longer the end-all, be-all of eCommerce. If you want to remain vital and offer top-tier customer service, exploring IoT is an excellent place to start.
This is a guest article by Heather Redding, a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. She loves to geek out writing about wearables, IoT and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.